Speech - Constituency Statement (Welcoming the Babies, Einbunpin, Retirement of Victoria Newton & Passing of Kev O'Leary)









This Sunday morning, at 10 am, we will have our annual Welcoming the Babies ceremony. It is a terrific day with plenty of entertainment and plenty of community groups coming along to talk to local families. So I invite all the young families in the area to come down to the ceremony. We will have Peebo and Dagwood there to provide the entertainment.

Also, two Sundays ago, on what was a really spectacular winter's day in Sandgate, we had our Einbunpin Festival. The festival was a celebration by and for the community about everything that makes Sandgate so special. It is really one of those exceptional events that makes the north side of Brisbane one of the best places to live in Australia. After 24 years, the festival is as strong as ever. It is a wonderful opportunity for local schools, artists and community groups to showcase their talents and, of course, especially their cooking skills.

I also want to make particular mention of a couple of strong community groups—first of all, SANDBAG. Since the launch of the Einbunpin Festival in 1992, SANDBAG has hosted the event, and its continuing support makes it a great success. The second is the Sandgate Men's Shed, who have done an amazing job turning the wood from the old Shorncliffe Pier into pens and clocks. For any history buff or someone who simply wants a piece of north-side history to call their own, purchasing one of these is certainly a good thing to do. Congratulations to the Einbunpin committee chairperson, Victoria Newton, Secretary Anika Vines, Avalon MacKellar, who organised the stalls, Beth Wild, who organised the entertainment, Jen Henderson and the rest of the committee for coordinating this year's event. Particular congratulations should go to the chairperson, Councillor Victoria Newton, whose stewardship over the past 15 years has made the festival what it is today.

I would also like to mention that Councillor Newton announced her immediate retirement as Councillor of the Deagon Ward earlier this week. Over the past 15½ years, she has been an extraordinary advocate for the community and a very good personal friend. We certainly wish her well for the future. I would like to extend my congratulations to her replacement, Jared Cassidy. He has big shoes to fill, but I am sure he is more than capable of doing that and more.

It is also with great sadness that I inform the House that the Australian Labor Party lost another titan of the movement over the winter break, Kev O'Leary. Kev was 100 years of age and had been a member of the Australian Labor Party continuously for 85 years—the longest serving member in our party's history—a truly remarkable feat. To me Kev was a mentor, an inspiration and, above all, a mate. I liked nothing more than having a few beers with Kev and his mate Les at the Aspley Leagues Club, watching the footy. Of course, he could still drink pretty well, even at 100.

The Labor Party has endured over the years because there have been tens of thousands like Kev who have been active and doing what they do not because of what the party could do for them but because of what they could do for the party. His contribution to our party and our nation cannot be underestimated. Kev's spirit will always live on and will always remain as an inspiration to a new generation dedicated to making Australia a better place.